Girls’ Attitudes Survey 2018 for Girlguiding
By 2009, the drive to encourage girls into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects had built some momentum.
Girls were still less attracted by science, engineering and maths, however, slightly more older girls enjoyed technology and information and communications technology (ICT).
It’s encouraging that even more girls are interested in STEM subjects overall this year. When it comes to science
and maths, girls of all ages are enjoying these subjects more now compared to 10 years ago. Yet despite a decade’s emphasis on STEM in education, older girls’ positivity towards technology and ICT has fallen. The turn-off among 11 to 16-year-olds could be to do with stereotypical views that it’s a subject for boys – in our report last year, 30% of girls aged 11 to 16 thought this.
The continuing lack of visible female role models in the tech sector and its external profile could also be having an impact. Paradoxically, the figures show younger girls are more eager to study ICT than before, suggesting the curriculum is engaging and fun for them at that age.
How women are treated in another arena, politics, may be a factor in girls’ contradictory views around political education. As national conversations ramp up around gender equality, we saw an increase in girls wanting to be taught politics, citizenship and the importance of voting. However, just over a fifth of girls say they are interested in politics. This could be explained by girls’ response to what puts them off going into politics covered in the next chapter – the way female politicians are treated and
the masculine environment. In our 2017 survey, 15% of girls aged 11 to 16 thought politics as a subject was
more for boys.